Chandler kindergarten teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute

Jan 24, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2023, 12:30 pm

PHOENIX —  An East Valley elementary school teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for January, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

Kimberly Shuck is a teacher at Carlson Elementary School in Chandler. Most of her 19 years spent as a teacher have been to young students, with 17 years dedicated to teaching kindergarteners.

“She has selflessly inspired hundreds of students to realize their true potential academically and instilling confidence, self-worth and a proud sense of belonging. The growth witnessed in her students is unparalleled,” one letter writer said, prompting them to enter her in for the $2,500 prize.

Last November, Shuck’s life changed forever. Days before Thanksgiving, she fell extremely ill while teaching in class and was informed by doctors she had a cancerous brain tumor.

The 40-year-old teacher has been focusing on recovery after she had brain surgery the following week, but her journey to healing isn’t over. She just started 6-week radiation treatments and chemotherapy, with plans to continue chemotherapy for about a year.

As Shuck is determined to stay healthy, she won’t be returning to the classroom for at least six weeks, but looks forward to when she can.

“Young students, they’re just so eager to please and be there, but their stories and the things that they say, I laugh, like big belly laugh on a daily basis and I came up to Chandler two years later and so I’ve been teaching kindergarten for 17 years,” Shuck said.

She added: “You’ll probably think it’s corny but there really is something to watching a person struggle with something and then when their lightbulb turns on and they get it and that look of accomplishment on their face — that’s why teachers are in it.”

The kindergarten teacher said she will use the reward to put toward medical bills, the classroom and possibly take her family, her husband and four children, on a road trip.

“Carlson Elementary is the ‘Home of the Champions’ and it couldn’t ring truer for Mrs. Shuck as she slayed her first opponent and had her tumor removed,” the letter writer said.

“But up next is the title fight she’s been training for her whole life. I like Mrs. Shuck’s odds as she’s a true warrior that never backs down and always is there for everyone no matter how big or small the feat is.”

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Chandler kindergarten teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute